Dr Laura Smith, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Richmond, has recently had an article published in The Washington Post which challenges Mike Pence’s response about whether he would testify before the January 6 committee that, “It would be unprecedented in history for the vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill.”
In the article, presidential historian Dr Smith argues, ‘This is misleading. Not only have past vice presidents testified before Congress, but there is also a long and healthy history of presidents themselves volunteering to testify — dating back to George Washington. This precedent, demonstrating the executive branch’s traditional respect for Congress’s oversight prerogative, has been consistent in times of regular operations and even during crises that have tested the nation and its government — regardless of time period or party politics.’
Dr Smith, who teaches US History and Politics at the University, cites a number of examples of past presidents who have testified before Congress, from George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln to Gerald Ford.